Creating Community

If you care about community, discount excuses like this:

We’re too busy
I don’t want to be intrusive
Others might want to spend time with me
There’s nobody around who cares about what I care about
My virtual community is enough
(If your circumstances really don’t allow for the development of community in your life, ask hard questions about priorities)

Be attracted especially to three kinds of people:

a) people who embody (or show signs of) the kind of whole life and wisdom that you would like to see more of in your life
b) People who are in need and open to relational helping
c) others, like yourself, who are wanting more community in their life

Create patterns and structures that involve common life (regular time together with others – don’t count on spontaneity)

Create patterns of interdependence (like tool-sharing or even car-sharing)

Practice hospitality (without questions of balance or reciprocity) & celebrate with others

Communicate vulnerability (ask for help)

Create or get involved in projects where you need to work alongside others

Ask for others to join you when making changes to live more justly with others and with the environment (or at least for their support, even if they don’t agree with how radical your steps are)

Takes risks of pushing past “normal socializing” – conventional won’t lead to unconventional results

Confront conflict in ways that show you care about the relationship and are confident the relationship will survive the conflict. Guard against letting relationships slip away because some conflict made it uncomfortable.

Find ways to increase geographical proximity – be willing to commit to relationships with people

Ask questions that initiate creative responses from your friends, especially about how to follow God in today’s world

Create community in more than one direction (example – one community focused on common Christian values, one community focused on your geographic community or local need)

written by Walter Thiessen

Community Lament

O God, we look around us today
We see a world that is broken and people in pain
How can you look on, Lord of compassion?
Does your heart break with our hearts?

Or do you see only the hardness of our hearts?
Do you see us turning from you and from each other?
There is so much darkness all around us
There is so much darkness yet inside us

Hurting and lost, we lash out against each other;
There is violence near and far.
Lord, remember us, do you see
(and hear time is given to name places
And situations of violence near and far)

All creation groans and strains
Our bodies falter and suffer
Lord, remember us, do you see
(and hear time is given to name people
And parts of creation that are ill)

Our souls cannot bear all the loss
Fear and rage overwhelm us
Lord, remember us, do you hear our silent cry
(and hear a time of silence is given
To listen to our souls)

What we feel is not your peace
What we see is not your justice
What we trust is not your love
This is not how things should be
This is not how things will be

You are present in all this mess
You will not leave us alone or unfinished
Transform us, Lord Who washes our feet
Heal our land, Lord Who forgives all
Re-create our world, Lord of Glory.

We wait for you. We wait.

written by Walter Thiessen